Sangyo igaku. Japanese journal of industrial health

[Toxicology of acrylonitrile (AN) (author's transl)].

PMID 7024596


Acrylonitrile (AN, CH2 = CH CN), a highly reactive compound having an active vinyl and cyanide group, has been widely used in various synthetic chemical industries. AN is known to produce toxic actions to human beings as well as experimental animals by inhalation and cutaneous contact. Its oral LD50 in animals are between 50 mg (for mouse) and 100 mg/kg (for rat, guinea pig, rabbit), and IC50 in 4 hours are between 110-140 ppm for mouse and dog, and 400-500 ppm for guinea pig. Although the mechanism of action of AN has not been completely understood, the action of both cyanide which is liberated in the organism and AN molecules themselves is considered to play some roles. Recent studies have shown that AN also produces chronic toxicity to human beings and experimental animals, and mutagenicity to microorganisms. In the U.S.A. experimental studies have shown an increased incidence of tumor in various organs after long-term administration of AN in rats. A preliminary report on an epidemiologic study conducted in the U.S.A. indicated excess cancer incidence and cancer mortality among workers exposed to AN. Further investigations will be needed to elucidate the carcinogenicity of the compound.